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AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND CONTRACT COMPLIANCE DIVISION Velma J. Laws, Director City of Houston ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER 832.393.0954 3.1.1 One Stop Business Center (OSBC)

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affirmative action and contract compliance division velma j laws director
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

AND CONTRACT COMPLIANCE DIVISION

Velma J. Laws, Director

City of HoustonONE STOPBUSINESS CENTER

832.393.0954

3.1.1

one stop business center osbc
One Stop Business Center (OSBC)

THE ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER IS A FREE INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE FOR NEW, EXPANDING, AND RELOCATING BUSINESSES IN THE HOUSTON REGION.THE CENTER IS UNIQUE IN TEXAS.

one stop business center services
ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services
  • INFORMATION: Provides concise information in one place
  • ASSISTANCE: Helps businesses concentrate on marketing, competition and growth issues
  • COMPLIANCE: Helps businesses comply with local, state, and federal permits, licenses and requirements. We refer businesses to govt. agencies for detailed requirements
one stop business center services4

PUBLICATIONS: “SOURCES of ASSISTANCE” and “CONTRACTING GUIDE” for companies selling products or services to the City of Houston

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Provides referrals to sources of technical assistance, counseling, mentoring, networking, incubators, workshops, and education

FINANCING INFO: Provides information on financing programs and local incentives for small businesses

ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services
one stop business center services5
ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services
  • MWDBE/SBE:Refers Minority, Women, and financially disadvantaged businesses to certification, HUB programs, and government contracting opportunities
  • DCA: Provides trouble shooting and liaison- DCA
  • WORKSHOPS: Hosts business workshops co-sponsored by Houston Public Library and other agencies.
  • SCORE: Hosts SCORE counseling service in the City Hall Annex.
the getting started packet
The Getting Started Packet

PACKET IS UNIQUE AND FREE OF CHARGE

GETTING STARTED PACKET CONTAINS INFORMATION ON PERMITS AND LICENSES NECESSARY TO OPERATE A BUSINESS IN HOUSTON/HARRIS COUNTY. The paper version of the GSP is geared towards permitting and regulatory issues, while the online version (more complete) has additional details and in-depth materials. - Also available on CD -

referrals to regulatory agencies
OSBC refers people to government agencies for permits, licenses, regulations, forms, applications, ordinances and statutes, as well as fee schedules.

THESE ARE OFTEN AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE ON THE AGENCY WEBSITE. (In-depth information is best provided by the administering agency.)

Referrals to Regulatory Agencies
publications and cd s aad s sources of assistance contracting guide
PUBLICATIONS and CD’sAAD's Sources of Assistance &Contracting Guide

The OSBC updates and publishes 2 great resources for potential vendors with the City of Houston:

SOURCES OF ASSISTANCE: A comprehensive guide to resources for MWDBE-SBE certified companies in Houston.

CONTRACTING GUIDE: For businesses selling goods and services to the City of Houston. Lists all COH personnel who interface with vendors, with phone numbers and addresses.

Available in hard copy, CD, or on the COH website.

www.houstontx.gov/aacc/index.html

technical assistance education and training referrals
Technical Assistance, Education, and Training Referrals

OSBC refers clients to Houston area sources of free or low cost technical or management assistance, educational opportunities, seminars and workshops, and business plan support.

  • SCORE
  • UH SBDC
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • TSU Economic Development Center
  • Minority Business Enterprise Center
  • Executive Service Corps (non-profits)
  • Employer Training, EEO, and ADA Compliance Section – COH/AAD, www.oshacampus.com
loan information and referrals
Loan Information and Referrals

OSBC provides information on public loan programs and business incentives, including the SBA, Houston Business Development, and others. One Stop DOES NOT provide direct private lender referrals- you must contact a private lender or the SBA for referrals.

The Houston SBA office maintains a list of Preferred Certified Lenders and Microloan companies. Call them at 713.773.6500 for private lender referrals.

OSBC DOES NOT PROVIDE

BUSINESS FINANCING!!

grant information financing

Grant Information (Financing)

Basic grant resources for small businesses:

www.grants.gov (good general resource)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (www.cfda.gov)

The Foundation Center (foundationcenter.org)

www.business.gov

www.houstonlibrary.org

City of Houston Housing and

Community Development Dept. (CDBG Grants)

www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/grants/index.html

NOTE: Grants are normally unavailable for start up companies. Before you pay someone promising grant money, contact the Texas Attorney General and check on their complaint record (713.223.5886). Also contact the Houston Better Business Bureau @ 713-868-9500.

business plan basics
Business Plan Basics
  • Creates an organized view of your business ideas
  • Helps identify your business’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as your experience
  • Provides direction and contingencies
  • Provides an analysis of the target market
  • Describes your product, service, and pricing structure
  • A review of the management team and practices
  • Identifies capital requirements at start up and in the future
  • SOURCES: UHSBDC, SCORE, SBA WEBSITE (business plan software)
free pre certification workshops mwdbe sbe pwdbe
FREE Pre-Certification WorkshopsMWDBE / SBE / PWDBE
  • FREE Pre-Certification Workshop Thursdays from

2 - 4 pm at the Affirmative Action Office, 611 Walker, 7th Floor, Downtown Houston. Parking nearby (charge- call for directions).

  • How-to do business with the City of Houston and other agencies who recognize COH certification.
  • Also provides hands-on assistance with forms and applications for certification, and explains various goals and contracting opportunities.

CALL: 713-837-9000

doing business with the city of houston
Doing Business with the City of Houston
  • Suppliers and contractors interested in selling products and services to the City of Houston must submit a Supplier Registration Form. Before issuing a purchase order or award, all vendors must be issued a vendor number. This registration serves several other purposes:
  • Identifies you as a potential bidder
  • Captures contact information about your business
  • Identifies your company with required products and/or services.
  • SOURCE: purchasing.houstontx.gov/index.html
  • 832-393-8800
city of houston online purchasing catalog
CITY OF HOUSTONOnline Purchasing Catalog

The Strategic Purchasing Division’s online purchasing catalog contains various categories of commodities, which have been competitively bid and awarded by the City.

Identify potential opportunities, and participate in the competitive bid process!!

Catalog: http://purchasing.houstontx.gov/catalog/

s c o r e management counseling
S C O R E Management Counseling

SCORE is "Counselors to America's Small Business“- professionals with knowledge who donate their time to help businesses succeed. Counselors are experts in accounting, finance, marketing, management and business plan preparation. All counseling is FREE OF CHARGE.

OSBC has a SCORE counselor at its City Hall Annex office weekly, for one-hour appointments, or at the main SCORE office at 8701 S. Gessner (713-773-6565)

Call 832-393-0954 to make an appointment! www.scorehouston,.org

osbc free workshops and programs
OSBC FREE WORKSHOPSand Programs

Contact ONE STOP for dates and times for upcoming business workshops. We do topic based (Ex: “Business Planning and Financing” or “Franchising”) and general introductions to our services, as well as services offered by SCORE and the Houston Public Library. Contact us if you’d like a program produced in your community! Call us at 832-393-0954 for dates and times.

www.houstontx.gov/onestop/index.html

TWITTER:twitter.com/ONESTOPBUSINESS

FACEBOOK: HOUSTON ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER

CITIZENS NET (sign up page) cohapp.cityofhouston.gov/citizensnet/

contact information location one stop business center
Contact Information & LocationOne Stop Business Center

WHERE: CITY HALL ANNEX, 900 BAGBY STREET

HOURS: 7:30am - 5pm, Monday-Friday

PHONE: 832.393.0954

FAX: 832.393.0952

TDD/TTY: 3-1-1

EMAIL: onestopbusinesscenter@cityofhouston.net

Contact us!!

getting started packet contents

Getting Started PacketContents

  • Minimum Requirements
  • City, County Requirements
  • Local And State Regulations
  • Federal Regulations
  • Employer Responsibilities
  • Workplace Posters / Contract Labor
minimum requirements common filings
Minimum Requirements(Common Filings)
  • DBA- HARRIS / FT. BEND COUNTY CLERK *
  • STATE SALES TAX PERMIT- TEXAS STATE COMPTROLLER *
  • EIN-FEDERAL TAXPAYER ID- INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE *
  • PROPERTY RENDITION- HARRIS / FT. BEND COUNTY

APPRAISAL DISTRICT (After Jan. 1 of each year)

  • CORPORATIONS, LLC’s- TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE *
  • EMPLOYER-RELATED FILINGS SEPARATE (See GSP)

*

dba s assumed names
DBA’s / Assumed Names

TITLE 1 - TEXAS UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE

CH. 36. ASSUMED BUSINESS OR PROFESSIONAL NAME

Any person who regularly conducts business or renders professional services other than as a corporation, limited partnership, registered limited liability partnership, or limited liability company in Texas under an assumed name shall file in the office of the county clerk in each county in which such person has or will maintain business or professional premises or, if no business or professional premises are or will be maintained in any county, in each county where such person conducts business or renders a professional service. (excerpt)

SOURCE: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/BC/5/A/71

commercial permitting ara
Commercial Permitting(ARA)

ARA (Administrative and Regulatory Affairs) engages in compliance investigations, permit processing and fee collection activities associated with over 50 various commercial permits.

  • Common Market (Flea)
  • Mini warehouse
  • Coin operated machines
  • Roadside vendors
  • Dance halls
  • Loudspeaker operation
  • Charitable solicitation
  • Second hand dealer
  • Gold and silver
  • Scrap metal processor
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Antique dealers
  • Carnival
  • Garage and yard sales

LOCATION: 611 Walker, 2nd Floor – 713.837.9555

building structure permit basics coh
Building/Structure Permit Basics (COH)
  • New construction of buildings or structures
  • Alterations, repairs or additions to existing buildings or structures, exterior remodels, alterations or repairs
  • Changes in the use or occupancy of an existing building or structure
  • Interior tenant lease build-outs, remodeling and repairs
  • Moving/relocating/demolishing existing buildings
  • Fences over 8' high or concrete or masonry fences
  • Driveways and sidewalks, parking lot paving and repairs
  • PWE: 713-535-7800
occupancy inspection basics coh
Occupancy Inspection Basics (COH)
  • A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is needed if a commercial building or lease space is occupied, or if changes to an existing occupancy type are made.
  • If no Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is posted the owner or agent is given a 10-day notice to apply and pay fees. If the owner or agent fails to comply, citations may be issued each day until the application is received by the City.
  • Residential dwellings and garages , sheds, and carports are exempt from needing CO’s
  • Call PWE: 713-535-7730
state of texas requirements examples not a comprehensive listing
State of Texas Requirements(Examples- not a comprehensive listing)
  • TCEQ: Environmental permits and licenses, dry cleaners, printing shops, a/c servicing, underground storage tanks, gas stations, auto dealers, waste hauling.
  • DPS:Auto glass, hazmat, vehicle inspection, concealed handguns
  • TxDOT: Oversize loads, aviation, trucking, vans, buses
  • Consumer Credit Commission:Registered creditors, pawn shops
  • Family and Protective Services:Day care, adoption, group homes
  • Licensing and Regulation:Employment services, cosmetology, talent agents, electricians, staff leasing, plumbing, a/c installers, combative sports, career counseling, refrigeration installers, court interpreters.
  • TABC:Alcoholic beverages, breweries, lab alcohol
  • TDSHS:Counselors, therapists, nursing homes, paramedics, athletic trainers
  • Agriculture Dept.:Nursery and floral, weights and measures, aquaculture
federal requirements examples not a comprehensive listing
Federal Requirements(Examples- not a comprehensive listing)
  • Customs and Border Patrol: Import licensing, port security
  • International Trade Administration: Exporting activities
  • EPA: Hazmat, environmental pollution sources
  • Federal Trade Commission: Mail order, used car sales, appliance labeling, care labeling, advertising
  • Food and Drug Administration: Food and drug manufacturing and labeling
  • OSHA: Workplace safety
  • Treasury Department: Check cashing, travel agencies
  • USDA: Animal and plant inspection, food inspection
  • USPTO: Patents and trademarks
permits and licenses name changes new applications
Permits and LicensesName Changes / New Applications

Some existing permits and licenses can be re-issued with a new applicant’s business and owner name. Call the issuing agency to determine if you must reapply for a specific permit under a new name or if it can be transferred.

EVERY LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCY HAS DIFFERENT RULES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR REAPPLICATION. YOU MUST CONTACT THEM AFTER AN INVENTORY OF EXISTING PERMITS AND LICENSES. FEES AND WAITING PERIOD INFORMATION IS ALSO AVAILABLE.

DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN REGISTER A SIMPLE NAME CHANGE IF YOU BUY AN EXISTING BUSINESS.

federal state minimum wage
Federal / State Minimum Wage

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage for nonexempt employees will increase to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

SOURCE: www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm#Texas

Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either "exempt" or "nonexempt." Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are not. Most employees covered by the FLSA are nonexempt.

The Texas State minimum wage law does not contain

current dollar minimums. Instead the State adopts the Federal

minimum wage rate by reference.

faq are permits licenses and regulations the same thing
FAQ - Are Permits, Licenses and Regulations the Same Thing?

NO!!

Business licenses and permits can vary by type of business, range of activities, and enforcing jurisdiction.

A business may not be issued a license or a permit (for a fee) but still be regulated by some level of government.

EXAMPLE

Mail Order businesses do not receive an actual permit or license but are regulated by the US Federal Trade Commission through their “Mail Order Rule”

www.ftc.gov

texas deceptive trade practices act dtpa
Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act - DTPA

The primary purpose of the DTPA is to protect consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business and insurance practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty. It does so by prohibiting certain acts and practices that tend to deceive and mislead consumers. Most consumer transactions are covered by the DTPA. Although the DTPA does not cover every deceptive or unconscionable act or practice, it is quite broad.

SOURCES:

http://library.findlaw.com/2000/Mar/1/130722.html (and)

http://www.texasbar.com/

is there a general business license in houston
Is There a General Business License in Houston??

There is NO “general business license” issued by the COH. DBAs, State Sales Tax Permits, or EINs are NOT business licenses. They are business-specific and issued individually based on business type and range of activities. BUSINESSES DO NOT REQUIRE THE SAME PERMITS AND LICENSES.

DBAs (or assumed names) are not proof of an operational business. People can register more than one DBA and there is no requirement to transact business. Therefore, DBA’s are seldom accepted as proof of such.

slide32
Do All Similar Businesses Have

Similar Regulatory Requirements?

No!

Similar business types can be located across the street from one another yet be in different cities or counties- thus having different requirements. EXAMPLE…

license and permit comparison
License and Permit Comparison

FF 1 (COH)

New structure, no alcohol, contract labor, no grease trap, signs, incorporated, wastewater impact fees, occupancy certificate, food dealer, burglar alarm.

FF 2 (HC)

Existing structure, alcohol, employees, grease trap, seafood, signs, sole proprietor, MUD (water/sewer), food dealer, burglar alarm.

home based vs lease space
Home-Based vs. Lease Space?

HOME-BASED

  • Check deed restrictions
  • Low capital start-up
  • Some tax deductions
  • Part-time operation possible
  • Flexible hours
  • Family-friendly
  • LEASE SPACE
  • Easily identifiable location
  • Customer traffic allowed
  • Signage
  • Inventory space
  • Fewer distractions
  • Higher capital start-up
deed restrictions i
Deed Restrictions- I

The City of Houston is UNZONED. Houston enforces deed restrictions for the protection of citizens and property owners in residential neighborhoods. All residents and citizens benefit, and it promotes the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the city.

PLEASE CONTACT THE

DEED RESTRICTION HOTLINE AT 832.393.6333

deed restrictions ii
Deed Restrictions- II

BEFORE OPERATING FROM A HOME:

  • Are you operating a business?
  • Are you generating customer traffic?
  • Are there current deed restrictions and will they allow or disallow the operation of a business?
  • Is your specific type of business allowed or disallowed?
  • Are the deed restrictions void through non-enforcement or expiration?
obtaining deed restrictions
Obtaining Deed Restrictions
  • Included with legal papers when real property was purchased.
  • Part of a lease or rental agreement, by reference.
  • Obtain from area homeowners association or civic club.
  • Obtain from the applicable County Clerk Office (must have property legal description). In Harris Co.

call 713-755-6899 (Real Property Records- fee for copies).

zoning ordinances and no zoning letter
Zoning Ordinances and ‘No Zoning Letter’

Houston is the largest city in the United States without a formal zoning ordinance. There ARE specific development regulations however. Contact the Planning and Development Department (at 713-837-7701) for information, or for a copy of the NO ZONING LETTER.

2010 City of Houston NO ZONING LETTER:

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/forms/2010NoZoningLetter.pdf

Harris County NO ZONING LETTER:

http://www.hctx.net/cmpdocuments/103/economic%20development/zoneletterharriscounty.pdf

no zoning letter actual text coh
“No Zoning Letter” (Actual Text- COH)

“The City of Houston does not have a zoning ordinance. This is the city of Houston’s no zoning letter applicable to any property inside the City of Houston. This does not address any separately filed restrictions that may be applicable to the property. You may use this letter to present to your lender. This letter will be updated on January 1, 2011.”

“All applicable development regulations and subdivisions laws can be obtained through a review of the City Code of Ordinances, which is located on the City of Houston Internet site accessed through www.houstonplanning.com or www.houstontx.gov”

commonly requested business types one stop business center
Commonly Requested Business TypesOne Stop Business Center
  • RESTAURANTS
  • DAY CARE
  • INSURANCE
  • CLEANING/JANITORIAL/MAID
  • BEAUTY/BARBER
  • FREIGHT SERVICES
  • CONTRACTORS
  • VAN-CAR POOL
  • CONSULTING
  • AUTO REPAIR/DEALER
  • CLOTHING RETAIL
  • RECORD LABEL
  • FURNITURE SALES
  • MAIL ORDER
statistics one stop business center
StatisticsOne Stop Business Center
  • 90% New Businesses
  • 50% Home-based businesses
  • 75% Within Houston City Limits
  • 75% No Employees (sole owner)
  • 40% Originate at the DBA Office (HCC)
  • 75% Sole Proprietorship-General Partnership
  • 550-700+ Clients / Month (GSP’s delivered)
strategic partners
Strategic Partners
  • US SBA / SCORE
  • UH Small Business Development Center
  • Houston/Ft. Bend County Public Libraries
  • TSU Economic Development Center
  • Houston Business Development, Inc.
  • Harris County Clerk / Texas State Comptroller
  • Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum
  • Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • UH Veterans' Services Office
for more information
For More Information

Call ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER:

832-393-0954 (311)

To download a copy of this presentation:

www.houstontx.gov/onestop

(Updated 5-10)